The Arimathaea Christian
It was a dark day for the followers of Jesus Christ. Their Lord was dead and the sun of their souls had set. The sad truth was that all the disciples had forsaken Him and fled. He was dead upon the cross and His enemies hoped that there was an end of Him, and His followers thought so. A few women who had remained about the cross, true to the very last, were found faithful unto death; but what could they do to obtain His sacred body and give it honorable burial. That priceless flesh seemed to be in danger of the fate which usually awaited the bodies of malefactors.
At that perilous moment Joseph of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews, of whom we never heard before, and of whom we never hear again, suddenly made his appearance. He was the very man needed for the occasion, a man of influence, a man possessing the kind of influence which was powerful with Pilate, a rich man, a counselor, a member of the Sanhedrin, a person of weight and character. Joseph had been in hiding and probably cowardly before; but now he came to the cross, and saw ho matters stood, and then went in boldly unto Pilate, craved the body of Jesus, and obtained it.
ILLS: Here is a precious lesson for us to learn. God will always have a Joseph. It may be that one which you thought was your very life, lets you down, but there will be a Joseph.
There was a Joseph for Israel in Egypt and there was a Joseph for Jesus on the cross. A Joseph acted to him a fathers part at his birth, and another Joseph arranged for His burial at His death.
There was a dark day in the Old Testament history when the eyes of Eli, the servant of God, had failed him; and worse still, he was almost as blind mentally as physically; for his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. It seemed as if God must forsake Israel, but who is the little boy who is brought in by his mother? This tiny child who is to be left in the sanctuary to serve his God as long as he lives. He wears a pretty little coat which his mothers hands have lovingly made for him. It is the Joseph for Israel. His name is Samuel, the servant of the Lord, by whose holy example Israel shall be led to better things.
Are you worried about anything? Does it all seem so hopeless to you? Let the infidels rage, let the world carry on. There is a Joseph that will appear at the right time.
Our text says, "Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor." As I have already said, we hear no more of Joseph than what is recorded here. He shines out when he is wanted and needed and than he disappears. We could, like others, do a lot of suppositioning here, but let us just stop where the Holy Spirit stops the pen.
Four Great Truths:
I. THE FEAR THAT KEPT JOSEPH IN:
Here is a great warning to all believers. Joseph was a disciple of the Lord; but secretly, for fear of the Jews. Fear which leads us to conceal our faith is an evil thing.
Above all things, we are not to be a Christian secretly because of the fear of man. We should be careful to give honor to Christ.
Am I a soldier of the cross A follower of the Lamb? And shall I fear to own his cause, Or blush to speak His name.
Theres a number of things in the life of Joseph that could have been the cause of his hiding his riches, or it could have been his position. Whatever it was, he was the loser. He lost that fellowship and sacred training of the Lord.
II. THE FACT THAT BROUGHT JOSEPH OUT:
A. Joseph did come out after all. There was something that happened that brought him out. It was the power of the cross. The life of Christ did not draw him out, the miracles, nor the messages, but the power of the cross.
ILLS:The shameful death of the cross had greater power over Joseph than all beauty of Christs life.
B. If nothing else would make you step out for Jesus, the cross should move you to stand up for Him.
III. THE FEELING THAT BOUND JOSEPH UNDER:
A. Not only did the cruelty of the cross touch Joseph, but the other factor was that all the friends of the Lord had departed and fled from Him. Only a few women and John stood by the cross while all the others were gone.
ILLS. When everybody else runs away, then one who has lived in secrecy steps up to claim the body.
B. The Lord Jesus is not hanging on a cross today, needing to be buried; but never had our Lord been so mocked and His Word so disgraced as it is being done today. When everybody else runs away, it is time for you and me to stand up for Jesus.
IV. THE FAITH THAT HONORED HIM ABOVE:
A. Joseph put himself under a personal risk when he stepped out and acknowledged Jesus as His Lord.
B. What will it cost you to really take a stand for Jesus? Are you willing to pay that cost? Can you leave all and follow Him?
Sermon From Zeno Groce - Pastor
Woodland Baptist Church --Winston-Salem, NC - USA